When any of my children have a birthday, I want the day to be special for them. I always make the cake; sometimes I’ve spent hours in the kitchen with food coloring and icing bags and end up with red- and blue- and black-stained fingers. I’ve made Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Spiderman, Batman, Strawberry Shortcake, Blue (from Blue’s Clues), and many others. Sometimes, I let the kids help me mix the cake ingredients and then just use the Betty Crocker premade icing to slather the cake with when it’s done baking. For my oldest son’s birthday this past year, we created a scavenger hunt to his birthday present. It was a surf board, and it was so big, it was impossible to wrap and say, “Guess what we got you?”!
This week is my daughter’s birthday. She is our only girl, so it’s fun for me to do the girly present shopping this time each year. Her birthday is always right after school starts, and it gives her a nice way to get together with friends she hasn’t seen since the end of the previous school year. With a lot of our military moves in the summer, however, she sometimes feels she gets the short end of the stick with birthday parties because she often hasn’t had enough time to make many friends when her birthday rolls around.
When I was a kid, I don’t think it was as big a deal to have friends over for a birthday. Most of mine were spent with my family. Today, I think some people go overboard with the parties for their kids, spending hundreds of dollars. And then there’s a goodie bag that each child must have to go home with. I thought the whole point was that the birthday child got presents. Don’t get me wrong; I follow the lead and have a creative bag made up with each invitee in mind.
This year, my daughter wants to have a luau themed party. Even though it’s not summer, per se, it’s still pretty warm outside, and it’s what she wants. I want the day to be special for her. Next summer we are moving again; it should be our last one. But she will still have to contend with the fact that she won’t have made many friends before her birthday, once again. So bring on the blue and purple and green food colors!
Hau`oli Lā Hānau!